Pandemic at the ranch

Written by karen on May 25th, 2020

It’s taken me awhile to be in a mental space to write about this here, but I just read an article that prompted me to write something about this weird time. It was about a couple who had always lived in different cities and for whom, lockdown provided a chance to explore what it was like to live together. (They charted their activities and emotions “Dear Data” style, which is how I came across this thanks to a friend. I’m a big fan of “Dear Data.”)

So those of you who know Brad and I know that we have spent nearly all our time together even before the pandemic. We’ve shared the same office space for 15 years or so and since we’ve been here have spent most of our time together in the same room. So being “really” together wasn’t something new or difficult for us. In fact, we’ve both remarked on how much we’ve appreciated having each other to go through lockdown with. There aren’t many (any?) other people I’d want to spend 8 weeks in isolation with.

In addition, we already had a pretty good supply of food here and an active garden (not to mention our own source of water and power). Living out in the middle of nowhere, even before this, we have adapted by keeping large supplies of things like flour, beans, and rice, as well as canned goods (and wine). Since we’ve lived here, I’ve baked my own bread. We seldom eat out, and since I’m a good cook, we eat very well. That has been a blessing during this time.

So what has changed for us? Well, not going to the gym has been a hard transition for me. I’ve started running again, which I’ll keep doing as long as my knees hold out. And Brad has us walking 4-5 miles every day. (We always walked a lot, but not this much or this regularly.)

Since we’ve been home (62 days as of today), I’ve been to town a handful of times; Brad less. I’ve taken a 91 year old friend to the doctor twice and done grocery runs for neighbors on the same trips (delivered to the car; I love that). We’ve also gone to get our local co-op food pickup twice. (It’s a highway-side pickup from a truck.) We’ve been inside no retail establishments or restaurants since late March and have no plans to do so any time soon.

Work has slowed down for both of us, more noticeably for me, since I was in the middle of several things that have been put on indefinite hold. I don’t mind that particularly, but it is different. I sometimes miss interacting with people face to face, but honestly not that much. Brad has worked from home for the last 10 years, so that’s no different now.

And like many, both of us have longer hair now. (I’ve always trimmed my own bangs.)  

Other than that, we’re both fairly depressed about the world situation, as I suppose most are. The pandemic itself is bad enough; the reaction of folks compounds our misery. People’s stupidity is disappointing; their meanness is beyond words.

I’ve been writing a lot of letters and connecting with folks, which I suppose is a positive of all this. I’ve also been baking a lot more sweets, cakes, cookies, scones, etc. The fact that we’ve both lost a couple pounds is surprising.

Most of all, we feel very fortunate to live where we do and to be in a situation where the reduction in work and the economic turmoil that will undoubtedly result from all this is not an immediate concern to us personally. Still, we are worried about the consequences  for society at large and for our community. 

The number of cases in our county is relatively low, but a disproportionate number have been in Douglas. (None in our zip code yet, but there are few people here at all.) Testing has also been very low in Arizona. (I personally know two people who had symptoms and possible exposure, requested a test, and were unable to get one.) As testing has increased in the last week or two so has the number of reported cases, so who knows what the real numbers are?

As of a week or so ago, Arizona is pretty much completely “open.” Restaurants, gyms, salons, and even swimming pools are open for business. We are staying home for now.

A lot of people have talked about what they most want to do when the lockdown is over. The only thing we both really want to do is make a trip to Costco. But that can wait.

Lastly, I hear the preppers nationwide are “disappointed” in the way this world disaster has played out. Not here. The preppers here, of which there are many, are feeling quite smug.


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